2015 Individual Regional Workouts: Saturday

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* Photo credit: Dan Bailey (Rogue Fitness), Julie Foucher (Pure Pharma)

The second day of the 2015 CrossFit Games Regional has been announced. Individuals will be taking on a long chipper, a gymnastic skill, and a max olympic lift. Each has become a staple at Regional weekend over the years. We’ve put together a guide on each with the hopes of offering up some perspective on what to expect beginning May 15th.

Event 3

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Event 3 is a long chipper. We’ve seen long workouts in each of the Regional weekends since 2011. An athlete’s abilities at longer time domains (20+ minutes) have to be tested if the fittest man and woman in the world is to be crowned. Below is a list of the previous long workouts in Regional history. To date, 2015’s Event 3 has the longest time cap of any workout put forth by CrossFit HQ at a Regional weekend.

Year Longest Event Avg Time Cap
2015 Event 3 (26 min) 12.16 min (6 timed events)
2014 Event 6 (21 min) 12.83 min (6 timed events)
2013 Event 4 (25 min) 12.5 min (6 timed events)
2012 Event 4 (22 min) 15 min (5 timed events)
2011 Event 4 (25 min) 17.4 min (5 timed events)

Included are the avg time cap lengths for each of the Regional years. While Event 3 boasts the longest ever workout, it appears, as a whole, the workouts are getting shorter and shorter. A lot of that has to do with the inclusion of the short, handstand walk, skills tests seen the past two years.

In addition to containing the longest time cap in Regional history, Event 3 also boasts the longest run ever seen. The previous record belonged to 2011’s Event 1, where we saw a 1000m Run (just over half a mile). In addition, in true CrossFit fashion, it isn’t just a typical run. Instead, the 1 mile run is being performed on a True Form Treadmill. Not quite sure what that is? Don’t worry. You probably aren’t alone. You can read about the True Form Treadmill and the idea behind it here.

Year Run Event Distance
2015 Event 3 1 mi
2014 Event 5 200 ft
2013 Event 7 100 ft
2012 NA NA
2011 Event 1 1000 m

CrossFit Endurance Founder and the mastermind behind our Run Calibrator Program, Brian Mackenzie, has put together a tutorial on how to properly use the TrueForm Treadmill. Watch his demo below.

Strategy

It’s a long workout, so that means pacing. The workout won’t be won during the initial run, but it can definitely be lost. Don’t expect to see new mile run personal records. Hundreds of Regional athletes worldwide are likely scrambling to find a TrueForm Treadmill to practice their pacing before their competitions start. The difference between a 6:20 mile and a 6 min mile isn’t big, but it could mean the difference between crawling towards the finish line and pushing right through it.

Limitations

At first glance, the GHD sit-ups and the Sumo Deadlift High Pulls appear to be the big road blocks for Event 3. I know most of the Regional athletes will be sporting chiseled, 6-pack abs, but 100 GHD sit-ups will be incredibly demanding on the core. Even if athletes manage to go unfazed by them throughout the rest of Event 3, I’m curious to see how they’ll be feeling going into Sunday’s events. GHD Sit-ups were on the decline in CrossFit.com programming until 2014, where HQ programmed them 25 times. That was 2.5 times more than 2013, and the most they’ve ever been used.

The classic Hero workout “Michael” notoriously has 3 rounds of 50 GHD Sit-ups. In last years CrossFit Games (2014) we saw 3 rounds of 25 GHD sit-ups in the “Midline March”. In 2013, we saw 21 MedBall GHD Sit-ups. In 2012, athletes had to throw MedBalls from GHDs for distance. In 2011, they had to do 4 rounds of 15 GHD Sit-ups. In 2010 there were no GHD Sit-ups and in 2009 there was an 8 Minute AMRAP of 12 GHD Sit-ups per round.

The other limiting factor could be the Sumo Deadlift High Pulls. SDHPs have maintained a steady decline in CrossFit.com programming since 2008. SDHPs only appeared in CrossFit.com programming 6 times in 2014 and 2 times, so far in 2015.  Furthermore, of the 55 appearances SDHP has made in CrossFit.com programming, only 2 of those workouts used 135 lbs/95 lbs. One workout prescribed 115 lbs/85 lbs. The rest were all 95 lbs or less. My biggest questions are: have these movements also disappeared from Regional athletes’ programming, and, since HQ isn’t prescribing heavy SDHPs, does anyone ever go heavy on them? My guess is that regional athletes world-wide will be scrambling to get in some extra work with those movements before May 15th. The graphic below is from our series on CrossFit.com Programming, and gives us an idea of how popular movements on main site have changed over time. Note that GHD Sit-ups and SHDP are highlighted.

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Event 4

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This is the 2nd consecutive year Handstand Walks are making an appearance at the CrossFit Games Regional. Proficiency at highly skilled gymnastics movements is becoming more and more important in CrossFit competitions. A gymnastics weaknesses, even if only for one specific movement, could now mean the difference between a Games spot and an early off-season. Just ask Sam Briggs, who failed to qualify for the 2014 CrossFit Games after a poor showing on the Handstand Walk event.

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At last year’s Regionals, only the top men and women were able to walk more than 250ft in the Handstand Walk event. That event also had a 3 minute time-cap, so those athletes should have no problem finishing the 250 ft. Also, since there is no requirement to go unbroken this year, we will see many more athletes finish within the time cap as well. Even though you are allowed to come down from the Handstand, going unbroken will still give athletes a big time advantage.

Strategy

The strategy here for strong handstand walkers will be to try and go unbroken. If the athlete is capable (and many will be), that will give the fastest time. For athletes who struggle more on the handstand walks, going for max distance will not be the best strategy. They will burn themselves out short of the 250 ft mark. Depending on how good/bad they are, they might want to break the 125 ft sections into 2 or 3 sets, just to give the shoulders a break. This could pay off as they struggle to complete the final 25-50 ft. We expect a few athletes to get to failure near the end of the course and burn up valuable time with sub-10ft efforts.

Limitations

The big limitation here will be shoulder endurance. Most, if not all of these athletes will be able to walk on their hands 50+ feet with no problem. But as they rush to finish the 125 ft sections, shoulder fatigue will set in for some athletes. Athletes with weaker shoulders will be punished towards the end of the course. For those athletes, we expect this fatigue from Handstand Walks to hurt their subsequent Snatch attempts. These athletes will have less rest, more shoulder fatigue, and more midline fatigue. All of which are essential in the Snatch.

Event 5

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Event 5 continues the tradition of testing pure weightlifting ability. Strength is critical to overall fitness and, at this point, it’s virtually guaranteed that athletes will have to demonstrate their weightlifting capacity at both Regionals and The Games. See the “Strategy” section below for a brief history of the weightlifting events at the Regionals since 2011.

This year athletes have two attempts at producing the heaviest Snatch possible. Lifts must be performed within a 20 second time frame. If an athlete misses the lift, as many attempts as possible can be made within the 20 second time frame. Based on the numbers, we expect most men to lift over 250 lbs on the Snatch, and most women to lift over 150 lbs. We will probably see a few men in the 300 lb range, as well as a few women in the 200 lb range.

Strategy

Because athletes have only two, twenty-second, time frames, don’t expect very many athletes to set new personal records. The two-lift constraint will force many to be very conservative in their weight selections. In past years, athletes have had more attempts, or more time, to set a max lift. They’ve also, in some cases, benefitted from the initial lighter weights of a ladder format. Those weights can be used as a sort of warm-up. In addition, never before has the lift appeared immediately after another event. This type of format rewards athletes who can consistently hit high numbers on their Snatch. They will be able to confidently hit a higher percentage of their 1RM than athletes whose technique is less solid. We recommend that athletes practice their Snatches under similar conditions in preparation for Regionals. At Regionals, the athletes will have to warm-up their snatches before Event 4, and  it could easily be 20+ minutes between their last warm-up Snatch and their first Snatch attempt in Event 5. Practicing this a few times in the gym beforehand will give them a mental edge come game day.

Year Event Lift
2015 Event 5 Max Snatch (2 attempts, 20 secs each)
2014 Event 1 Max Hang Squat Snatch (3 attempts, 2 min each)
2013 Event 2 3 Rep Max Overhead Squat (7 mins)
2012 Event 5 Snatch Ladder (50 sec per lift)
2011 Event 2 Thruster Ladder (20 sec per lift)

Let’s not also forget that any type of Snatch is permitted (muscle snatch, power snatch, squat snatch or split snatch). In an effort to assure a successful attempt, we may see more Power Snatches than full Squat Snatches. Even though, generally speaking, more weight can be lifted using a full Squat Snatch, the room for error with that version of the lift is a lot smaller.

Limitations

The Handstand Walk could have an impact on the athletes’ abilities to put heavy weight overhead, especially for those able to get through the entire 250 ft distance. The shoulders, triceps, and midline will be fatigued. To make matters worse, there will only be 1:40 rest between Events 4 and 5. Athletes who are used to spending an hour or more working gradually up to a 1RM Snatch may struggle with no warm-up sets immediately before they Snatch.